Mental Health Awareness: General Treatment for Mental Illness

A quote from Robert Frost: "The best way out is always through."

From Brad Stulberg on The Practice of Groundedness:   "You don't need to feel good to get going..... You need to get going to feel good."

Oftentimes symptoms of mental illness drag us down so we can't see the forest through the trees.  It's tough to recognize when it's time for help, but it's never too early to seek treatment. If you feel you've lost yourself somewhere along the way, that life is too hard or you can't can't enjoy things that you usually do,  make an appointment with your primary doctor. Be open and honest and do not feel guilty or ashamed that you can't fix it yourself.  There may be a physical illness or imbalance to be remedied as well.

For anxiety or depression, your physician may prescribe an antidepressant or antianxiety medication and recommend talk therapy if appropriate. Medications usually take at least 2 weeks to feel improvement and up to 6-8 weeks for full effectiveness.  In the meantime, talking with a licensed therapist or psychologist will get you started on working your way back to wellness.  There are many counseling centers in our area.  

In cases of severe mental illness such as episodes of psychosis, bipolar, schizophrenia or trauma-related disorders, loved ones will often need to intervene.   You may have to call 911 if the person is unsafe for himself or others.   Communities are working to provide crisis response teams to help get the ill person into the hospital for evaluation rather than utilizing the police (which makes mental illness feel like a crime).   Coming in July of this year is a new emergency number for mental health emergencies, "988".  Stay tuned for updates.

There are no lab tests to determine a mental illness diagnosis, but rather, defined symptoms point to a specific diagnosis. Psychiatrists use the DSM-5 manual to diagnose and prescribe treatment and allow insurance coverage.   Mental illness is unique to each person, so usually the most effective treatment is a combination of medication and talk therapy.  For more severe illness, mood stabilizing and antipsychotic medications help stabilize the symptoms so talk therapy is even possible.

Sometimes mental illness becomes so severe that inpatient care in a psychiatric hospital is necessary followed by residential treatment for a time.  If a dual diagnosis of mental illness along with alcohol or substance misuse is the case, there are treatment programs that simultaneously treat both.  

Support groups can be very helpful for all levels of mental illness for the patient as well as the family.  It can be a very sad and scary time learning that you or your loved one has a life-changing mental condition.  But remember you're not alone!  1 in 4 people are challenged with a mental illness.

There is a wealth of information on the web, but try starting with and search Pt. Care and Health Information, then Mental Illness.  Remember to also refer to our LOC website, Support tab, Mental Health for resources.    Educating yourself and your family and friends about the mental illness is so important, don't suffer in silence. Just as with physical illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, people want to know what you're going through and how they can support you.

There is hope!!!  Even after years of untreated mental illness, people can still recover and learn to manage and lead a full life with proper care and support.
Please reach out to our LOC Prayer Chain if you or someone you love is challenged with mental illness. Also, call Pastor Bruce for guidance and support.  

Please continue to pray for all those who suffer or love someone who does.  Thank-you.


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